Stage 6 was the second test for the General Classification contenders at the Tour de Suisse and saw a shake up of the overall race lead with Damiano Caruso moving into second by the smallest of margins.
It was a brisk start to the day with multiple attacks over the opening 30km of the race being pulled back quickly by the BMC Racing Team-led peloton.
Eventually, on the early slopes of the San Bernadino Pass, the first of two relentless hors categorie climbs on stage 6, ten riders were able to drift clear at the front of the race.
By the time the breakaway reached the summit of the climb, with 100km to go, they were sitting over two minutes ahead of the main bunch which had been reduced to around 60 riders as BMC Racing Team continued to set the tempo in support of race leader, Caruso.
Despite the gap increasing to three minutes at the bottom of the descent, the peloton remained in control and steadily the gap began to fall as the road flattened out towards the base of the Albulapass.
As the course started to rise once again, the breakaway had been brought to within 1’30” with riders beginning to attack at the front of both groups with 25km to go.
In the end, it was just Michael Woods (Cannondale – Drapac Pro Cycling Team) who remained at the head of the race inside the final 20km while a string of riders sat in between him and the peloton.
The fireworks began behind Woods with 18km to go as Caruso launched the first of several attacks from the select group of General Classification contenders.
The immediate increase in speed saw all of the remaining chasers caught just 5km later before Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) was able to bridge across to the leader.
After reaching the top of the climb, the riders had to negotiate a tricky drop to the finish line which was made more difficult by the wet roads.
With Pozzovivo sitting 25 seconds back on the General Classification at the start of the day, Caruso continued to lead the chase behind however the AG2R La Mondiale rider was able to hold onto his advantage to take the stage win.
Caruso crossed the line seventh, 15 seconds behind, but with ten bonus seconds up for grabs on the line, he now sits second overall by just one hundredth of a second.
Daniels Oss was involved in a crash in the first half of the race but he was able to get back on his bike and finish the stage.
“Today, I am really happy with my teammates. The guys did an amazing job. They worked hard all day then, on the last climb, when many riders tried to attack me, I was able to follow every move. Just Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) was able to go alone on the last descent. It was really wet and dangerous and I tried to stick with the rest of the GC guys whilst also not taking too many risks.”
“I lost the jersey but it’s by less than one second so it’s okay. The race isn’t finished yet and it is still really open. I was feeling really good so I wanted to try and make a move on the final climb. Sometimes the best form of defense is to attack.”